European train travel
It's easy to travel from the UK to almost anywhere in Europe by train. National Rail train companies do not generally sell tickets for travel to mainland Europe, but this page explains where you can get information and buy tickets. If you are travelling even further afield, take a look at our worldwide page which contains lots of useful contacts
Travelling from around the UK to join an international train
National Rail offers flexible fares for travel to London, Ashford, Harwich or Dover to connect with a Eurostar or 'railandsail' departure to Europe. These are separate tickets which should be used in conjunction with your international travel ticket. Ask at your local station for a ticket to "London International" and show your Eurostar or 'railandsail' ticket.
Tickets issued to "London International" have fewer time restrictions (often none at all) compared with normal tickets and they ensure "Contract for International Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIV) - PDF" apply to your whole journey, rather than just in Europe.
Tickets to "London International" also include the London Underground across London (if necessary) to St Pancras (or Liverpool Street, Charing Cross or Victoria).
Eurostar run from London St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International and journey times are fast. 'High Speed 1' delivers a faster, more reliable, less environmentally damaging alternative to flying from the stunning St Pancras station with connections that bring Eurostar services to travellers across the UK
Fastest travel times
- London to Paris - 2 hours 20 minutes
- London to Brussels - 2 hour2 1 minute
- London to Lille - 1 hour 22 minutes.
Remember, these times are from city centre to city centre - not to airports outside of the city centre. Visit www.eurostar.com for more information. Through tickets to Eurostar destinations are available from many UK stations.
Paris and France
London to Paris by Eurostar: Eurostar links London London and Paris in just 2 hours 20 minutes. Some Eurostar services also call at either Ebbsfleet or Ashford in Kent, Calais and Lille in northern France. For times, fares and to buy tickets, see www.eurostar.com or call 03448 224 777.
London to other destinations in France: Some Eurostar services run to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille and to stations in the Alps during the ski season. Otherwise you can change in Lille or Paris for high speed TGV trains to all parts of France. For information on train times, fares and to book online, please contact one of the Travel Agencies below.
Train times, fares and online tickets within France: www.voyages-sncf.com
Paris Metro and bus information: www.ratp.fr
Brussels, Belgium and Luxembourg
London to Brussels by Eurostar: Eurostar links London and Brussels in as little as 2 hours 1 minute. Some Eurostar services also call at either Ebbsfleet or Ashford in Kent. For times, fares and to buy tickets, see www.eurostar.com or call 03448 224 777.
London to other destinations in Belgium: If you buy your Eurostar tickets to 'Any Belgium Station' then you'll be able to continue your journey from Brussels to any station within Belgium, but not on Thalys or ICE services. Destinations include Brugge, Antwerp, Gent and Liege.
London to Luxembourg: Regular trains link Brussels with Luxembourg. You can check onward train times from within Belgium at www.b-rail.be.
Train times and fares within Belgium: www.b-rail.be
Train times and fares within Luxembourg: www.cfl.lu
Amsterdam and The Netherlands
London to Amsterdam by 'Dutchflyer': Greater Anglia, Stena Line and Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Netherlands Railways) offer combined 'Dutchflyer' fares from just £45 one way from London (or any Greater Anglia station) to Amsterdam (or any station in the Netherlands). Tickets are available from any staffed Greater Anglia station or by telephoning 0345 700 6245, or visit the Stena Line website or call 08445 762 762 (08:30-20:00 Mondays-Fridays, 09:00-18:00 Saturdays, 09:00-17:00 Sundays).
Train times and fares within the Netherlands: www.ns.nl.
London to Switzerland by train: Eurostar connects in Paris with high speed trains to Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich or Bern. For information on train times, fares and to book online, please contact one of the Travel Agencies below.
Train times, fares and online tickets within Switzerland: www.sbb.ch.
London to Italy by train: Eurostar connects in Paris with high speed trains to Turin and Milan, and with overnight sleeper trains to Milan, Verona and Venice, operated by Thello. For information on train times, fares and to book online, please contact one of the Travel Agencies below.
Train times, fares and online tickets within Italy: www.trenitalia.it
Spain and Portugal
London to Spain or Portugal by train: Eurostar connects in Paris with fast TGV services to Barcelona on the new high speed line. It's also possible to travel from Paris to Irun in north west Spain. Trains link Madrid and Barcelona with cities all over Spain, and with Portugal. For information on train times, fares and to book online, please contact one of the Travel Agencies below.
Train times, fares and online tickets within Spain: www.renfe.es
Train times, fares and online tickets within Portugal: www.cp.pt
Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe
London to Germany, Austria and beyond by train: Eurostar connects in Brussels with high speed trains to Cologne and Frankfurt for connections to stations in Austria, Poland, Czech Republic and beyond.
Eurostar connects in Paris with high speed trains to stations in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Luxembourg for connections to eastern Europe, Russia and Scandinavia.
For information on train times, fares and to buy tickets, please contact one of the Travel Agencies below.
The rest of mainland Europe
|Austria: OeBB||Bulgaria: BDZ|
|Croatia: HZ||Czech Republic: CD|
|Denmark: DSB||Finland: VR|
|Germany: DB||Greece: OSE|
|Hungary: MAV||Norway: NSB|
|Romania: CFR||Russia: RZD|
|Serbia: ZS||Slovakia: ZSR|
|Slovenia: SZ||Sweden: www.sj.se night trains Veolia|
|Turkey: TCDD||Ukraine: UZ|
Dublin and Republic of Ireland
Belfast and Northern Ireland
London to Dublin and Belfast by 'railandsail': You can buy combined 'railandsail' tickets from London or any National Rail station to Dublin, Belfast or any station in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland via most ferry routes. London to Dublin costs just £29 one way, with unlimited availability. You can buy tickets at most UK railway stations or by calling 08450 755 755 (08:00-20:00 Mondays-Fridays, 0900-1700 Saturdays and Sundays).
Train times and fares within the Republic of Ireland: www.irishrail.ie
Train times and fares within Northern Ireland: www.nirailways.co.uk
The Isle of Man
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company operate regular ferry (and fast ferry) services which connect the Isle of Man to Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin.
Train times and fares within the Republic of Ireland: www.irishrail.ie
Train times and fares within Northern Ireland: www.nirailways.co.uk
Train times and fares within Great Britain: National Rail Enquiries
The Channel Islands
- Weymouth to Guernsey - the fast ferry service operated by Condor Ferries runs all year round. Crossing time 2 hours 10 minutes. The fastest service between the UK and Guernsey
- Poole to Guernsey - the fast ferry service operated by Condor Ferries runs during summer months. Crossing time 2 hours 30 minutes.
- Portsmouth to Guernsey - a conventional ferry operated by Condor Ferries runs daily except Sundays year round with a daytime crossing time of 7 hours. The overnight crossing from Guernsey (via Jersey) to Portsmouth is a very popular service, so be sure to book your crossing and cabin early!
- Guernsey to Sark - The Isle of Sark Shipping Company provides up to 5 sailings daily between St Peter Port (Guernsey) and Sark, taking 45 minutes.
- Guernsey to Alderney- Manche Iles Express provide occasional sailings to Alderney by fast ferry
- Weymouth to Jersey - fast ferry services operated by Condor Ferries run all year round via Guernsey. Cross time 3 hours 25 minutes
- Poole to Jersey - fast ferry services operated by Condor Ferries are available during summer months. Some services operate directly to Jersey with crossing times in as little as 3 hours.
- Portsmouth to Jersey - a conventional ferry operated by Condor Ferries runs daily except Sundays year round. Portsmouth to Jersey (usually via Guernsey) is a day service with a crossing time of 10 hours 30 minutes. The overnight crossing from Jersey (usually direct) to Portsmouth is a very popular service, so be sure to book your crossing and cabin early!
- Jersey to Guernsey - Condor Ferries offer fast ferries between St Helier (Jersey) and St Peter Port (Guernsey) in about 55 minutes, with day trips possible, plus a daily sailing by conventional ferry. Manche Iles Express also offer sailings by fast ferry.
- Jersey to Sark - Manche Iles Express provide occasional sailings to Sark by fast ferry.
Resources for train travel to Europe
Europe wide online timetable The German Railways online timetable will show you train times between almost any two stations in Europe.
European Rail Timetable From 1873 to 2013, the famous Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable was an invaluable asset to all train travellers in Europe. Following its demise, the book is now published by one of the former compilers. The world famous book has timetables for trains all over Europe, as well as ships to North Africa, Israel and the Mediterranean islands. If you're going to travel a lot, for example with an InterRail or EuRail pass, you should buy one of these to plan your journey. It costs £15.99 and is available online or from selected bookshops in the UK and Europe.
seat61.com A personal website, with train times, fares, information and tips for train travel from London to destinations in Europe and beyond.
Tips for train travel to Europe
When to book Bookings open 60 days in advance (120 days in advance for Eurostar, 90 days for trains in France and some other trains including the sleepers from Paris to Spain and Italy). You cannot book before reservations open.
Booking tickets to Europe online You can book tickets to destinations in France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy online, using one of the Travel Agencies below. When booking online, if you don't see attractive fares for the whole journey from London, try splitting your journey and book (for example) London-Paris and from Paris to your final destination as two separate journeys.
Child, senior and youth fares The age limits for children vary from country to country. On Eurostar and most European trains, children under 4 go free, children aged 4 to 11 pay a reduced fare, children 12 and over pay the normal adult fare. On many routes, there are special discounted fares for anyone under 26 or over 60. Please ask when you buy tickets.
Luggage There is no weight limit for baggage, just remember that you will have to carry what you bring. There is a baggage limit of two large items and one smaller item on Eurostar. Self-help trolleys and left luggage facilities are available at most major stations.
Bicycles Bicycles can be taken as hand luggage on Eurostar and on most other European train if they are placed in a special bike bag (available from cycle shops) with pedals removed and handlebars turned. Bicycles not placed in bike bags must be sent on Eurostar as registered baggage, for a small fee. See www.eurostar.co.uk for details.
Dogs and pets You cannot take dogs (other than guide dogs) or other pets on Eurostar. Most ferry companies will only accept dogs when carried in vehicles. However, if you can get across the Channel, dogs are carried (sometimes for a fee) on most European trains.
Taking your car - motorail Eurostar and most European passenger trains don't carry cars. However, there are special 'motorail' trains which take cars on a few routes. See Voyage SNCF for more information.
|Althams Travel Services Ltd||0800 917 9997
||Call Back / email reply service offered or telephone booking only||n/a|
|Deutsche Bahn UK||08718 808066||Online, with immediate confirmation (but not ALL journeys)||email@example.com|
|European Rail||0207 619 1083||Accepts phone bookings and offers independent rail holidays||n/a|
03448 224 777
|FULL ONLINE SALES with immediate confirmation for Eurostar services||n/a|
|Ffestiniog Travel||01766 772030||Call Back / email reply service offered or telephone booking firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Great Rail Journeys||01904 521936||Call Back / email reply service offered or telephone booking email@example.com|
|| 034911980248 or 039694806357
|| Online search engine comparing air, bus, trains, ferries and car rental options. Mobile App available
|International Rail||0871 231 0790
||Online, with immediate confirmation (but not ALL journeys)||internationalrail.com|
|Miki Travel||020 7507 5000||Call Back / email reply service offered or telephone booking firstname.lastname@example.org|
||Online, with immediate confirmation (but not ALL journeys)||email@example.com|
|Rail Canterbury||01227 450088||Call Back or email reply service firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Railwise||020 7242 1490||Telephone Booking Onlyemail@example.com|
|Spanish Rail Service||020 137 4464
||Call Back or email reply service firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Switzerland Travel Centre Ltd||020 7420 4900
||Online, but rail passes only. Telephone service offered for other journeys||www.stc.co.uk|
|The Russia Experience||0845 521 2910
||Call Back or email reply service email@example.com|
|The Travel Bureau||01902 324777||Online, but rail passes only. Telephone service offered for other journeys||n/a|
|TheTrainline||n/a||Online, with immediate confirmation (but not ALL journeys)||n/a|
|Trainseurope||0871 700 7722||
Call back or email reply service offered. Trainseurope now also have a ticket desk at London St Pancras
|Voyages-SNCF (A subsidiary of SNCF)||0844 848 4088||Full online sakes with immediate confirmation for all European Rail Journeys||uk.voyages-sncf.com/|